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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cold, Wild Ride: Racing Alaska's Iditasport 100K @BicyclingMag

Cold Wild Ride
"I FELT THE BREATH OF THE ARCTIC INTIMATELY BECAUSE OF THE PROXIMITY BIKE RIDING PUT ME TO BEARS ALONG THE KENNICOTT ROAD."
Photograph By Carl Battreall
BY THE TIME I think to eat the PB&J sandwiches stuffed in my sports bra, the windchill has turned them into rocks. At this point, I am pushing my bike across an ice-locked lake. Sporadic markers that read "Iditasport" tell me I'm on the trail, yet I can barely make them out because my eyelashes keep sticking together. A vision flashes in my mind, of a woman I'd heard about whose eyeballs had frozen during a race in Alaska. They'd apparently swelled to the size of prunes, causing her temporary blindness.
Because her race had been 350 miles while mine is just 100 kilometers, I feel like a baby even thinking things could get that dire. Then again, I've already broken a chain, lost my way, and run out of water. My fingers are waxy, even in puffy handlebar mitts; my toes wooden in their insulated, lug-soled boots. Even my protective layer of beer fat feels as cold and clammy as... fat.

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